From Founder, April Sliwak
Have you gotten used to coexisting with COVID19 yet? It seemed like that’s what we were doing this summer. From what I saw, people were out socializing, vacationing and at the Jersey shore. There didn’t seem to be fear but rather compliance and an understanding of how to cautiously get back to normal as it looks today. It appeared people felt more comfortable than when the quarantine was in affect.
In March, the pandemic was upon us and we were mandated into a quarantine. I
remember feeling a stillness, unsure of even what tomorrow would bring as we were
learning more about the virus. Post surgery, (from my kidney transplant), my immune
system became compromised so that caused me to have an underlying feeling of
uncertainty and fear of losing the new kidney I was gifted. Events and gatherings of
every kind were being canceled or postponed including our event, The Beauty Project
for teen girls.
There were disappointments in people’s lives due to COVID19 including us at
Her Life Speaks.
What I want you to know:
In the fall of 2019 at a Leadership Getaway, we felt God calling us to host The Beauty
Project instead of the annual retreat for two reasons; 1. We were all in agreement that
this year the BP should take precedence as we felt convicted to pour God’s truth into
their lives was a priority. 2. As a 100% volunteer based ministry, we felt we had to
choose between the two events. In prayer, we saw God leading us to the BP.
While we were in quarantine, our efforts and focus were all on the BP which was to take
place on Oct. 3, 2020. We postponed the launch a few times as we all waited on the
Lord in prayer and fasting to see when would be the right time. Once we launched in
July we continued to plan and move forward which included marketing and a monthly
newsletter in your inbox. However, by now, you probably know that we are postponing
the BP until the spring.
Why am I writing to you?
To acknowledge that as we were putting our attention into the BP, we may have lost
sight of everyone else! Please forgive us if you may have felt that way. Another reason
you may have felt this way was because I felt less engaged. I didn’t realize it for a long
time but I was still recovering from surgery in December 2018. This took me by surprise
as I was told over and over again that it would take a year to feel myself. But for me it
was much longer. Therefore, the BP was all I could focus on as I had little energy for
anything else. I’m being vulnerable by wanting to be transparent with you. The Lord
taught me a few things about vulnerability this summer which is why I write to you now.
God continues to heal me and also is moving within the ministry. He has given us a
fresh vision to serve women and the teens AND bring a new team of young women
whose calling is aligned with the mission of Her Life Speaks. Moving ahead, we’re super
excited to connect with you through storytelling, worship, small groups, prayer, social
media and Zoom. We’re working really hard to be better at connecting with you online
until we can see one another in person again. We all really miss you!
We remember you in our prayers, plans and in our calling to serve you.
Love, April xx
Reading is a wonderful way to clear your mind and unwind. Relax and unwind these last few weeks of summer by checking out the below book recommendations!
By, Vanessa Marie
Like many, I had big plans for 2020. I was going to write a ton of new songs and perform them all throughout NY and NJ, I was planning a fun trip to Florida with my best friends, and the biggest of all… I was going to get married in June. Then, what seemed out of nowhere, COVID19 struck the world. However, our God isn’t an “out of nowhere” type of God. He is a God of order and peace (1 Cor 14:33). Everything that happens is under the control of God and if there is one thing the EVERYONE learned during this pandemic, was that we are in control of nothing!
ROMANS 8:28 (NLT) And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.
It’s not up to us to understand what God is doing, but it is our responsibility to trust that what He is doing is for a greater purpose and ultimately will be what is best for us. Inevitably, about 80 days before my wedding on June 6th, we postponed. I threw myself a pity party for about 5 minutes and then I worshiped. I knew God had this entire situation under his control and that, truly, everything happens for a reason. I know God isn’t going to just let my wedding be cancelled. I know that when we are able to have our wedding it will be that much more special and God will be glorified. I think our guests will have a new appreciation for being able to celebrate together and perhaps be that much more open to hearing the Gospel.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (ESV) Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
I feel so much comfort knowing that God is in control of this situation and I feel so lucky that during this crazy time in the world, that I know Jesus. I am not experiencing the same anxiety, uncertainty or hopelessness I notice a lot of others expressing. I have the peace of God within me, something that surpasses human understanding. Peace is a promise from God, and he never breaks his promises (Hebrews 6:18). I rejoice knowing that God is with me even during a pandemic. Though it may seem like we are in deep waters, the Lord will not let us drown.
Matthew 6:34 (MSG) Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.
I still don’t know if I will be able to have my wedding in the near future or when this virus will go away. But I do know that during this period of waiting, God is calling me closer to Him. He is teaching me to be disciplined in keeping my focus on Him at all times. To not get distracted by what “might” happen. He is giving me an opportunity to have more time to talk with Him, be in His word, fellowship with & care for others, and to simply watch him do His work and prepare me for the work that He will lead me to do. It’s not my job to worry; it’s my job to worship. Each day of waiting is another opportunity to trust God - and great is His faithfulness!
As I’ve jumped into the Scripture over these past few months I’ve asked God to reveal himself to me and to teach me His way. I pray that these verses will strengthen your faith as you wait, as they have strengthened mine.
What has God taught you in this period of waiting?
Hey beautiful and faithful Moms of Teen Girls!
If I asked you to write a letter of encouragement to your younger self, what is the first
thing that comes to your mind? (Pause)
Do any of these resonate: “There was purpose in what you went through and God used it for good.”, “God was always with you. You were never alone, beloved. His hand was on you.”, “Yes, “it” was hard. You were lonely and didn’t have anyone to talk to. But Jesus died for the brokenhearted to heal and redeem. That’s what you are today, free, redeemed, and guilt free.”. These are only some of the things I wrote in my letter to my younger self.
I encourage you to write a letter of affirmation to your younger self as a blessing too.
Her Life Speaks is hosting a NJ event for teen girls called The Beauty Project which
came from a vision God gave me as I started to heal from my adolescence. As God
redeemed each part of my hurt and suffering he showed me that girls today don’t have
to live by the same lie that I believed which was, I didn’t have a choice. I thought I was
supposed to go along with the crowd or act out the behaviors I saw in the movies. “Girls
just want to have fun”... don’t we? I learned on my own how to get the attention and love
My vision is for teen girls to know they have a choice on the decisions they make, that
girls know they are God’s Masterpiece, He loves them and values them so much that
He created them for his purpose, and wants a relationship with them. I wish someone
told me that and now we will. Your daughter will be empowered to know Jesus as their
best friend and equip them to make healthy decisions that intentionally line up with his
purpose for them.
At the Beauty Project we are creating a fun and festive experience for teen girls to
understand their true worth and value by way of using God’s promises for their lives.
We’re going to girl talk about faith, friendships and fashion! They’ll make storyboards,
enjoy lite bites and get up close with our new worship leader!
Moms, this is the kind of event we wish we all had growing up!
The girls will all hear the same word and can hold each up with accountability and
support. They will make wiser decisions knowing their value because of Jesus. They will
be empowered to live in confidence and to own their choices over what social media
tempts them with.
We CAN do this together! Please make this a priority in your daughter’s schedule and
bring her with a group of friends. You’ll be so glad you did. Hopefully, her letter-to-self
will look much differently than ours. I’ll take that bet. Together, let’s lay that foundation in
her heart that she can depend on forever. #Jesus
Written by Dani M.
Everyone has the desire to be loved and wanted by others. We often think the more friends the better, the more people that like us the happier we will be. In middle school I looked for approval in my classmates, rather than the one whose opinion is most important- God.
Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm (Proverbs 13:20)
Picking the right friends with good morals was a struggle for me in middle school. Instead of looking for friends with Godly attributes I desired to be liked and looked up to by my peers. I craved acceptance from the other girls at the lunch table. Early October one year, I vividly remember sitting at the long table in the cafeteria when I started to hear conversation about Halloween. It was common for each lunch table to do a group costume and attend the same party. When I noticed that most of the girls in the group were being secretive, I immediately felt a pit in my stomach. Shortly after, I had heard from a few of the girls that a separate group chat was created without me in it to discuss the costume. I went up to my room that day after school and cried for hours. I felt unworthy, unwanted and unimportant. I confronted my close friends in the group and asked why they did not want me to be a part of the costume? They confided in me and had told me that the ringleader of the group had not wanted me to be apart and influenced the other girls to exclude me.
A few days passed and it wasn’t long before my mother asked me what was wrong. I told her the story and she asked me the question, “What does the Bible say about friendships?” At the time I didn’t think the Bible could solve my friend drama or make me feel any better. Well, was I wrong! Here’s what I learned.
Jesus longs for a personal friendship with each one of us. He wants to be the one we love to spend time with, the one to whom we pour out our heart, the one we high five when we do well on a test! He’s our best friend, wise, patient and the definition of love (John 15:13). When we get to know Jesus we learn our true value and purpose. God created us to be in fellowship with Him and this is the example we are to recreate with the friends we choose in life. I learned to be more selective and find friends who had godly wisdom (Proverbs 13:20) to share and were reliable (Proverbs 18:20).
God gives many examples of powerful and strong friendships in the Bible: David and Jonathan, Naomi and Ruth, Christ and Mankind. It is important to examine your own friend group and ask, is this a clique or a friendship circle? Am I doing anything to make someone feel unwanted? Am I surrounding myself with people who make me feel good for who I am? Good friendships take time to develop but are a gift from God. What kind of friend are you?
Her Life Speaks is all about Her testimony, Her life, and who God is in Her story. Here we write our stories in hopes of helping other women find their relationship with Jesus Christ.